Do you ever have something to do that just seems too difficult? Maybe you just aren’t in the mood. Maybe you’re really tired. Maybe it’s a task for someone else that seems pointless. How do you respond when this comes up for you?
Do you procrastinate – putting it off to some imagined time when you will be more in the mood to do it?
Do you lay down and take a nap hoping that this will lift your energy enough to do it?
Do you make excuses to those you are accountable to as to why you didn’t do it or why it’s not a priority? Do you try to talk your way out of it?
Do you ignore it, hoping that no one will notice, or that in the end it really won’t matter?
Well, I am here to tell you that if you want to reach your goals, procrastination, napping, making excuses, and ignoring the issue will not help you in your quest.
Sometimes goals seem insurmountable. When I start to feel this way, I break down my goal into small obtainable tasks. Sometimes I have to break down the goal into a task that may seem silly or senseless, but in my view, once I have forward momentum, the rest will take care of itself. Also, when I complete a task, no matter how small, I gain a sense of accomplishment which motivates me to continue on.
This is how I tackle my fitness regime. I love the way I feel after I have completed a run. I am no marathon runner nor do I go very fast, but my days are always better when I go for a run. I gain uninterrupted time to work through issues or let go of stress, and I get the “high” of the endorphins that are released in my brain while I run. I love this. I need this.
However, the process of actually getting me to go running, despite all of these wonderful benefits, is sometimes difficult. The whiny voice in the back of my head begins “I’m too tired. I don’t want to. I don’t care”, etc. I feel defeated before I even get up off the couch.
This is the point where I have learned to break it down. I begin to make deals with myself as I break down the “insurmountable” goal of running into baby steps. First, I decide that all I have to do is change my clothes. I just have to put my running clothes on, and then if I want to lie down on the couch, I can. Once my running clothes are on, I tell myself that I just need to walk outside and take a deep breath. If I then still want to do something else, I can. With each of these “accomplishments”, I gain momentum. My next goal is to just run to the end of the street. If I decide at that point I want to return home and take a nap, I give myself permission. And then I go running. And then I get all of the positive effects that the running gives me – including more energy.
Break things down into small doable steps. Even if these baby steps seem ridiculous, your brain will like this game. You will learn to procrastinate less and practice success more.
If I can do it, you can do it!
“Procrastination is one of the most common and deadliest of diseases and its toll on success and happiness is heavy.” – Wayne Gretzky